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10 Things To Know About HIV/AIDS

It's World AIDS Day.

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1. amFAR stats show there are currently 35 million people living with HIV worldwide and 3.2 million are under the age of 15.

2. There are 1.1 million people living with HIV in the U.S. and it's estimated that almost 18.1 percent of those people don’t know they are infected.

3. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has revolutionized HIV treatment.

ART works by combining drugs that attack the virus in different ways. ART doesn't cure HIV but it stops it from reproducing. The goal is to decrease the the viral load (amount of virus in the bloodstream) to that tests can't even detect it. The HIV is still present but it doesn't cause symptoms.

4. According to UNAIDS, 330,000 children around the globe were born with HIV in 2011.

Via Facebook: UNAIDS

Most children born with HIV (more than 90 percent) are in sub-Saharan Africa. Triple antiretroviral medicine combinations are more effective in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

5. A recent treatment breakthrough is being hailed as a step toward a cure.

Doctors at the University of Pennsylvania removed blood cells from a dozen HIV patients and used a technique that removed a protein that allows the virus to latch on to blood cells. Doctors injected the blood cells back into the patients, then took them off ART for a month.

The virus returned in all but one of the patients, but doctors found that the treated blood cells appeared to be protected from the virus. The results of the study could mean that some HIV patients might not have to take medication on a daily basis.

6. The famous "Mississippi Baby" was HIV free for almost four years before the virus returned.

She was born with HIV and treated with aggressive antiretroviral drugs 30 hours after birth. Since the age of 18 months tests showed no sign of re-active HIV (detectable viral load). Two years later, the HIV anitbodies were detected in her system.

7. A cancer drug was used to drive out dormant HIV.

A Danish research team led by Ole Søgaard at Aarhus University's department of infectious diseases used the anti-cancer drug Romidespin to activate the virus so that it's susceptible to ART. Though the drug worked, the immune system wasn't strong enough to fight it. Søgaard said his team has just started enrolling participants in a new study looking at Romidepsin in combination with a therapeutic HIV vaccine.

8. A study published in PLOS ONE found that a 20-year-old HIV-positive adult on ART in the U.S. or Canada is expected to live into their early 70s.

9. According to, injection drug use is responsible for approximately 10 percent of HIV cases in the U.S. annually.

10. The HIV test window period can be from 9 days to 3-6 months.

The window period is a time when someone who is HIV-positive can test negative for the virus. If after three months you test negative, you most likely do not have the virus.

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